A Texas real estate mogul reportedly made “millions of dollars” by selling swathes of local farmland to a Chinese billionaire with close ties to Beijing.
David Frankens of Lufkin, East Texas, scored the “deal of the century” when he transferred the land to Sun Guangxin, a former captain in the Chinese military, for about twice its market value, local real estate agents told .
The deals sparked outrage among ranchers in Val Verde County, where Sun bought more than 130,000 acres of farmland for an estimated $110 billion between 2016 and 2018.
A report from former CIA officials seen by suggested that the Chinese billionaire could be viewed as a national security risk by US authorities due to his extensive ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
A local landowner described the Franks’ actions as “insidious.”
Texas real estate mogul David Frankens (pictured) has been branded “treasonous” after he allegedly made “millions of dollars” by selling swathes of farmland to a Chinese billionaire with close ties to Beijing, sparking national security fears
A report from former CIA officials seen by suggests that Sun Guangxin (pictured) could be considered a national security risk by US authorities due to his ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Sun purchased more than 130,000 acres of farmland in Texas between 2016 and 2018 for an estimated $110 million. Pictured: The gates to its regional headquarters, Morning Star
can also reveal that the Texas businessman has since been accused of assault by a former ranch manager.
Coincidentally, the alleged incident occurred around the time it was announced that a Chinese company would be taking over the ranch.
Frankens’ relationship with Sun has put him at the center of an ongoing controversy over the billionaire’s Texas land grab, in which the Xinjiang-born businessman claimed seven percent of all land in Val Verde County between 2016 and 2018.
The former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captain made headlines when he unveiled plans for a 46-turbine wind farm on a 15,000-acre ranch he bought from Frankens in 2018.
Opponents said the project would give Sun – and by extension the Chinese state – access to the national power grid.
This led Gov. Greg Abbott to pass the Lone Star Infrastructure Act in 2021, which banned companies from “hostile nations,” including China, from accessing government infrastructure.
Locals were puzzled as to how a Chinese billionaire had come to own such a large tract of land in a county known for its wild and desolate landscapes, and soon found their answer in the larger-than-life Franconia.
Property records show the real estate agent purchased properties from existing landowners and then “exchanged” them on the same day to GH America, a subsidiary of Sun’s Guanghui Group.
In one case, he bought a property at 11 a.m. and sold it to GH America at 2 p.m. that afternoon.
Local real estate agent and ranch owner James King told that Frankens sold the land to the Chinese at twice the market price, reaping millions of dollars in profit.
King suspected that Frankens had taken advantage of the foreign investors’ naivety.
“The Chinese weren’t smart,” he said. “But buyers should beware.” “That’s how Texas real estate is.”
David Frankens with an unknown woman in his luxury cabin in the Piney Woods in East Texas
Frankens shows off his properties on social media and is particularly proud of his Blue Hole cabin
The hut, which appears to have been newly developed from scratch, is located on an idyllic lake
Frankens also posted this picture of the Rock Springs Ranch in Texas on Facebook in 2015 with the caption: “This is my second home away from home. I have built, developed and sold several but still live in the area.” The ranch was later purchased by Chinese billionaire Sun
King said he watched in amazement as Frankens sold package after package to the Beijing-backed group.
“You could call it the deal of the century,” he said. “I would say, ‘Wow,’ he made the deal and then it was just one thing after another after another.
King, who formed the Lower Pecos Landowners Group to oppose the proposed wind farm, suspected that Frankens probably used the money he made from his initial dealings with GH America to buy more land to resell to the company, and in doing so “hided” his winnings.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a very honorable way to make a living because it’s underhanded,” he added. “But people do it.”
A source familiar with the relationship between Frankens and Sun said it was the Texan who floated the idea of a wind farm in Val Verde County.
According to the source, Frankens had actually touted the idea of such a project on his Rocksprings property back in the 1990s.
Sun’s close ties to the CCP are documented in the book Eurasian Crossings: A History of Xinjiang by James Millward, a professor at Georgetown University.
The book says Sun opened a CCP branch in his own company in the 1990s and poached a party secretary from a state-owned company to take over.
His political connections helped him acquire state-owned companies but also sparked warnings about his potential threat to national security, including from Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
King said locals have reacted angrily to Frankens’ role in bringing a potentially hostile foreign actor into the heart of their community.
“It’s about, ‘How dare you bring this man into our neighborhood of really solid landowners who care about the land and where some families have spent six generations out here,'” he said.
Kyle Bass, a businessman and ranch owner in Val Verde County, said Frankens’ dealings with Sun were “insidious.”
Sun’s unprecedented land grab results in him owning seven percent of all land in Val Verde County through its Brazos Highland and Harvest Texas subsidiaries. The location of his proposed wind farm is in the northeast part of the county, but he already earns royalties from wind turbines operated on his land by a French company in Rocksprings
Frankens, who has been called an “intimidating person,” is now the focus of legal action after a former ranch manager accused him of assault during an altercation in his office
Sun’s plans to build a wind farm on one of its properties sparked fears that it could give Beijing access to the power grid. It is believed that Frankens was the one who suggested the idea to the Chinese billionaire
Frankens, who has a Pentecostal background and brings a religious advisor to all important business meetings, flaunts his wealth on social media.
His Facebook is littered with photos of his Blue Hole cabin in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
He is also an avid supporter of Donald Trump and has held rallies in support of the former president at his sprawling estate.
King, who has met Frankens several times, described him as an “intimidating” figure.
“He’s huge, one of the biggest men you’ll ever meet.”
“He doesn’t seem mean or angry or anything. It’s just that you’re a little intimidated by just the size of the guy and his size.
“He’s from East Texas, good ol’ boy, and he sounds like it, he looks like it.”
Frankens is now in trouble after one of his former ranch workers filed a lawsuit alleging he was cornered in his office and “hit in the head with fists” in September 2021 by Frankens and two colleagues “caused serious bodily harm.”
Rancher Eric White claims he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was “forcibly removed from his job,” the Kerrville Daily Times reported.
Sun was born into a working-class family in Xinjiang province but has amassed an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion using his close political and military connections
Pictured: Sun’s primary home in Val Verde County, Morning Star Ranch
Frankens filed a response denying the allegations and asserting “the affirmative defense of self-defense.”
He did not respond to a request for comment from , but previously told Forbes that his first deal with GH American came about by chance, as he sold the property through an agent and didn’t know who the buyer was until closing through.
He declined to comment on subsequent deals or how much money he received from them, citing confidentiality agreements.
However, Frankens denied the allegations of treason, describing them as “based on fear.” He added: “In my dealings with [Sun Guangxin]He always did exactly what he said he would do and proved to be a generous, hospitable man.
“I have toured the property several times and have never seen any evidence of nefarious or questionable activity. “I consider him a friend.”